The Battle of the Oder-Neisse is the German name for the initial (operational) phase of one of the last two strategic offensives conducted by the Red Army in the Campaign in Central Europe (1 January - 9 May) during World War II. It's initial breakthrough phase was fought over four days, from April 16 until April 19 1945, within the larger context of the Battle of Berlin. The Soviet military planners divide the frontal and pincer phases of the operation, named Berlin Strategic Offensive Operation into:
The battle included heavy fighting by the three Fronts of the Marshals of Soviet Union Konstantin Rokossovsky's 2nd Belorussian Front, Georgy Zhukov's 1st Belorussian Front and Ivan Konev's 1st Ukrainian Front, that assaulted the defending Wehrmacht Army Group Vistula commanded by General Colonel (Generaloberst) Gotthard Heinrici and Field Marshal Ferdinand Schörner' Army Group Centre.
In the early hours on April 16 1945, the Berlin Strategic Offensive Operation began with a massive bombardment by thousands of artillery pieces and Katyusha rockets in a barrage which was sustained for as long as two hours on some sectors of the front. Shortly afterwards and well before dawn, the 1st Belorussian Front attacked across the Oder, and the 1st Ukrainian Front attacked across the Neisse. The 1st Belorussian Front was strengthened because it had the more difficult assignment and was facing the majority of the German forces in prepared defences.
Zhukov was forced to report that the Seelow-Berlin Offensive was not going as planned. Stalin, to spur Zhukov, told him that he would give Konev permission to wheel his tank armies towards Berlin from the south. On the second day, the 1st Belorussian Front staff were reduced to combing the rear areas for any troops which could be thrown into the battle. The Red Army tactic of using dence concentration of firepower was providing the usual results. By nightfall of April 17, the German front before Zhukov remained unbroken, but only just.
On the fourth day of the battle, April 19, the 1st Belorussian Front broke through the final line of the Seelow Heights with nothing except severely depleted withdrawing German formations between its troops and Berlin. The remnants of General Theodor Busse's 9th Army, which had been holding the heights, and the remaining northern flank of the 4th Panzer Army, were in danger of being enveloped by elements of the 1st Ukrainian Front.
While the 1st Belorussian Front encircled Berlin, the 1st Ukrainian Front started the battle for the city itself. Rokossovsky's 2nd Belorussian Front started his offensive to the north of Berlin. On the 20 April, between Stettin and Schwedt, Rokossovsky's 2nd Belorussian Front attacked the northern flank of Army Group Vistula, held by the III Panzer Army. By the 22 April, the 2nd Belorussian Front had established a bridgehead on the east bank of the Oder over 15 km deep, and was heavily engaged with the III Panzer Army
Elements of the 3rd Guards, 3rd and 4th Guards Tank Armies, which were the Front's Cavalry Mechanized Group, having exploited the breach in the 4th Panzer Army sector of the front, and turned north between Seyda and Jüterbog towards a meeting with the 1st Belorussian Front west of Berlin.
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